Earlier today, Senate Republicans released their Omnibus Tax bill, which includes deep cuts to property tax relief programs such as Local Government Aid and the renters’ property tax refund program. Early analysis of the bill suggests it would raise property taxes by $422 million over the next two years.
In total, the bill cuts about $641 million in aid to local governments. Additionally, the bill cuts $105 million from the renters’ property tax refund program. This would be a direct tax increase on Minnesota renters.
The bill also eliminates the Minnesota’s Sustainable Forest Incentive Act. The SFIA was created to provide an incentive for landowners to practice long-term sustainable forest management. This would serve as a direct $31 million tax increase on the landowners who participate in the program.
In total, early estimates suggest the bill would raise property taxes by $422 million. A more detailed analysis will be forthcoming from the Department of Revenue.
Republicans have been quick to note that their bill includes $44 million for the Homeowner Property Tax Refund program. That level of “tax relief” would provide only a dime for every dollar of higher property taxes.
In response to the release of the Senate Republicans’ tax bill, Senate DFL Caucus Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, and Sen. John Marty, DFL-Roseville, offered the following statements:
Statement from Sen. Bakk:
“While the Republicans promised reform, all we keep seeing is the return of failed Pawlenty policies. Under Gov. Pawlenty, Minnesotans saw their property tax bills grow by 75 percent. This bill simply continues that trend, pushing the tax burden directly onto the backs of middle-class homeowners and renters. There is no tax reform in this bill, just middle-class tax increases.
Our caucus remains committed to protecting the pocketbooks of working families. Republicans, on the other hand, want to continue the failed policies of Tim Pawlenty at the expense of middle-class Minnesotans.”
Statement from Sen. Marty:
“Despite their rhetoric of “no new taxes”, Republicans are proposing huge tax increases on every homeowner and renter in the state. But corporations don’t have to worry. At the same time that Republicans are increasing taxes for homeowners, they are proposing to eliminate the state property tax for corporations. The Republican bill subsidizes a huge corporate tax break through tax increases on working families. This trade-off may please the Chamber of Commerce, but there is no fairness for the working families struggling through these difficult economic times.
Republicans have claimed their bill provides property tax relief. The reality is that they are raising property taxes by ten times the amount of “tax relief” they promise.